Garden Expo Starts Friday!

It’s Time to Think Green! Wisconsin Public Television presents the 18th-annual Garden Expo this weekend, Feb 11-13 2011, at the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison. Make plans now to attend this year’s event!

Tickets for Garden Expo are just $7 in advance and $8 at the door. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Two-day passes are available for $11 both in advance and at the door.

New this year, click here to find and print an online coupon for a $1 admission discount at the door on Friday and Sunday!

All proceeds support WPT programming and outreach efforts. This year’s Expo features:

  • Hundreds of exhibitor booths selling seeds, plants, books, tools, lawn equipment and other exciting merchandise for gardens and yards of all sizes.
  • More than 100 free educational seminars and demonstrations on topics including lawns, gardens, landscape design and more.
  • A 1,200-square-foot central-garden display sponsored by the Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association.
  • A chance to meet Master Gardener Shelley Ryan, producer and host of WPT’s The Wisconsin Gardener.
  • UW-Extension horticulture experts will be available to offer insight, plant identification and tips to gardeners and amateur landscapers of all levels.
  • Nonprofit groups specializing in mulching various plant species, rain gardens, rock gardens, conservation efforts and more will have booths to share their information.
  • An exciting Garden Expo raffle for prizes including landscape packages, equipment, decorations, tools and more. The nominal raffle ticket price supports WPT programming.

To find a list of advance ticket vendors around the state, please visit There, you can also find information about all of Garden Expo’s educational offerings, hands-on workshop registration and details on the Garden Expo raffle and available prizes.

Here’s a look at the fun from last year’s Garden Expo:

Dane County Farmers Market

Watch Wisconsin Foodie: Dane County Farmers Market at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Unfortunately I have never attended the Dane County Farmers Market.  It’s actually quite sad considering I live only a few miles away from the Capitol.  My excuse? My friends that frequent the market like to go bright and early, and Saturday is my day to sleep in.  I hope to finally make it out there a few times this year when it returns to the Square in spring, so I was happy to see Wisconsin Foodie doing a piece on it.  After all, it is reported to be the largest producer-only farmers market in the country.  With around 150 vendors in attendance every Saturday, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.

I’ve added a brief clip made by some of the students at UW-Madison to give you a taste of what it’s like to be at the Dane County Farmers Market…  Hope to see you there.

Photographing the President

Watch The President’s Photographer at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7 on Wisconsin Public Television.

The President of the United States is one of the most powerful people in the world. As citizens, we get to see the President in occasional televised speeches and press conferences, perhaps as part of a large crowd at a traveling rally, town hall meeting or campaign stop, or — most often — in television news snippets of him exiting or entering Air Force One or walking across the grounds of the White House. These days, Pete Souza gets a much closer look at the life of the President.

Souza is President Barack Obama’s official photographer and his access is nearly unencumbered. In this fascinating program, take a ride along with Souza as he takes photos of important meetings, high-powered events and poignant moments. And, learn how he and his staff tell the story of the Obama White House through up to 80,000 images per month!

Click here to see some of Souza’s powerful images at the White House’s official Flickr feed.

The Life of a First Lady

Watch Nancy Reagan: The Role of A Lifetime at 8:00 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6 on Wisconsin Public Television.

The ReagansTake a peek into the life of Nancy Reagan, the first lady of the 40th President of the United States.  Seen by some as one of the most powerful and influential first ladies of all time, Nancy Reagan’s life is detailed in this documentary from her birth in New York to her acting career in Hollywood and from her time in the White House to returning to California. Her story is told by her friends and family, historians, members of Ronald Reagan’s political inner circle and even the former first lady herself.  Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about Nancy Reagan and all of the amazing things she has done in her life and the projects she continues to be a part of.  More information on the documentary, a short preview and additional pictures of Nancy’s life can be found here.

The Smallest Bird in the World

Watch Nature: Magic in the Air at 8:00 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Hummingbirds are like no other bird on earth.  These fascinating birds may be the smallest, but what they lack in size they make up for in ability.  Unlike most birds, hummingbirds can use their unique shoulders to flap their wings in a way that allows them to hover.  Their balance and coordination is top-notch and allows them to drink nectar from plants even when they’re moving.  Even more impressive, hummingbirds can actually fly upside down for a brief moment.  Don’t miss your chance to learn more about this amazing bird.  I have added a preview of the episode below.  If you just can’t wait for the broadcast, you can also watch the full program online here.

State of the State on-air and online

Watch Gov. Scott Walker’s State of the State Address at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1 on Wisconsin Public Television.

One week after President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union Address to Congress and the nation, Gov. Scott Walker will offer his State of the State Address to the Wisconsin legislature and residents from the Capitol in Madison. WPT will offer live coverage of the speech on both the flagship channel in high definition and on The Wisconsin Channel. If you are away from your television, the video coverage will also be available via live streaming on The Wisconsin Channel website. Audio coverage will be available on Wisconsin Public Radio.

Live music served up online

Are you a live music lover? How does the chance to catch three live concert performances of talented musicians from around Wisconsin and beyond from the comfort of your own home sound? Grab your mouse and navigate over to the 30-Minute Music Hour website starting at 1:30 p.m. Saturday for three live-streamed recordings.

Madison-based Ida Jo and the Show starts the day with a 1:30 performance. Chicago’s J.C. Brooks follows at 3 p.m. with Milwaukee’s Kings Go Forth at 4:45. If you can’t watch live on Saturday, the performances will be available on-demand soon. Find full artist details, the live stream and more at These and more artists will be featured on the new season of the 30-Minute Music Hour this summer on Wisconsin Public Television.

Wild baby animals

Watch Nature: Born Wild, the First Days of Life at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30 on Wisconsin Public Television.

We can all admit that few things are as adorable as baby animals. They’re cute and they’re cuddly. But in the wild, they can also face a treacherous existence in their earliest days. This episode of Nature explores the earliest interactions of baby animals in their native environments. While the program includes plenty of adorable baby animal footage,  it also covers some very serious moments in a young animal’s first days.

The sneak-preview segment below outlines one such moment when a group of new lion cubs faces the prospect of not gaining acceptance into their pride.

State of the Union online and on-air

Watch President Obama’s State of the Union Address at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25 on Wisconsin Public Television.

In an annual rite of government, President Barack Obama will present his State of the Union Address to Congress and the nation. This year, the address is more accessible than ever. WPT will offer live PBS NewsHour coverage of the address and the Republican Response from Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan on-air. But, if you are away from your television, the folks at NewsHour are preparing other coverage options, too. Visit this link to find online streaming and mobile options, including Twitter updates and iPhone streaming video.

True Art Collectors

Watch Independent Lens “Herb and Dorothy” at 9:00 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28 on Wisconsin Public Television.

For more than 50 years they’ve been married, and for over 50 years, they have collected art.  Meet Herb and Dorothy Vogel, avid art collectors with quite an impressive collection.  From paintings the size of a wall to twisted wire a bits of string, the Vogels appreciate all art and buy the pieces they can not live without.  This is particularly interesting to me because I really don’t understand people with an eye for art.  I’ve spent many hours at some of the museums throughout Wisconsin, some things are beautiful, some historic, but there are always a few pieces that look like junk.  It’s amazing to see art through the eyes of Herb and Dorothy because they truly understand and appreciate each piece.  Enjoy the preview below and start to learn a little bit about Herb and Dorthy, the art they collect and the people who know them best.